Foil, the Other “F” Word

Guest Post by our good pal Brett Bowden of Printed Threads in Tejas. A few extra comments were added by the IK.

The trend of foil has lasted longer than any of us thought it would.  We added foil application to our toolbox at some point when one of our clients approached with an order of a couple thousand pieces.  We didn’t want to turn down the job, so we just figured it out.   After doing it for a few years, we have learned a bunch of things that really amount to nothing, because just like any other type of printing… there are a bunch of stupid variables.

The best lesson that I have learned about foil is to prepare the customer.  An important thing to tell the customer is that small details might not show up. Some good advice for any foil project is that if you can distress the artwork it will make up for the shortcomings of foil.  A job we did recently had some small serif fonts, ouch.   While the main part of the image came out,  the little serifs on the font did no come out perfectly on every shirt.  The press ops need to know that since they are printing a gel adhesive, that the screens might clog where there is fine detail.  We tint our gel the same color as the foil we are printing. This allows us both to see what we are doing, and also can hide some missed foiling spots.  However,  it  still can be difficult to see the amount of the ink deposit when you are moving quickly.   We have also had problems with bad foil.  Sometimes switching to a different roll, miraculously solves lots of problems.  We have also purchased a really nice heat press to avoid problems, good equipment takes away one big variable in the proces.

I love a challenge,  but all too often we are working on a project that is just beyond possible… and then printing that job on garments that cost a fortune. Crows and people like shiny things, and when you are printing for people you had better make the job as printable/foilable? as possible, prepare the customer for the result they will get, and then watch your printing with an eagle eye. Shine on…or not.

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